Trevin Wax, guest contributor of Desiring God writes about how information is now everywhere with the growth of social media and the Internet. From computers to the phones people carry everywhere, it is hard to ignore the constant bombardment of electronic information, 24/7.
From politics to opinions to funny videos, it can numb the spiritual senses in the digital age. A modern-day challenge of distraction is a challenge of faith, and a reminder that occasionally tuning out the noise is a good idea.
Numbness affects more than just our thumbs, which scroll endlessly past trends and trivialities. Our hearts grow cold. We come across a natural disaster or terrible tragedy in one post, only to scroll on to a new life hack for improving our health and wellness, before encountering someone’s commentary on politics or a hilarious video with kids or animals. The result? A blur. A noisy background filled with so much information and so little wisdom.
Sometimes the desire to stay on top of online trends and issues leads us to devote too much attention to the present, at the expense of the past — or worse, the eternal. That’s why we do well to look below what’s happening right now, to the foundations of the faith that help us maintain clear perspective on the current debates and controversies of our time.
If we’re to be faithful, we cannot settle for simply skimming the surface of today’s breaking news or this week’s topic of conversation and debate. Faithfulness requires digging, returning to the bedrock of the faith so that we have somewhere to stand. We need roots that go deep so that we can stand tall like a tree, firmly rooted, no matter how hard the cultural winds blow. Without roots, we’re just debris, tossed by the wind, dizzied by swirling news and information.
We really do not need to stay on top of everything. It’s better to dig beneath the surface of current events and root ourselves in the great story of the world as it’s unfolded in the Scriptures. What do we believe? Why are we here? Where are we going? What is all this world about in the end? Without firm and constant reminders of the truth of Christianity and the ultimate glory of God, we’re likely to be shallow and double-minded, unstable in all our ways (James 1:8), without the wisdom necessary to discern the faithful path today.